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Tatoosh Wilderness

Backcountry Response Team

Thu Aug 17, 2023 8:30 AM — Sun Aug 20, 2023 3:30 PM

Trip Difficulty: Strenuous

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Features: Earn Northwest Forest Pass

Crew Leader: James Alexander

Looking north along the Tatoosh Ridge trail. Photo by Ken Giesbers


Join us for our third year in the Tatoosh Wilderness! We'll be hiking and working along the spectacular Tatoosh Ridge, a strenuous but rewarding adventure. Expect grand views and hard work re-establishing tread so hikers can take in the incredible views without worrying about where they're stepping.

About the Area

Tatoosh Ridge runs much of the length of the Tatoosh Wilderness and offers a plethora of different hiking opportunities.

It's rugged and steep, but the payoff is wildflower meadows, huckleberries, Tatoosh Lake, and spectacular mountain views.

What to Expect

This is an exciting and adventurous work party for the right volunteers. It is a strenuous trip; please be sure that you and your equipment are up to the task. The campsite is remote and the terrain rugged.

Project Description

Get your treadwork skills and hiking muscles ready! The Tatoosh Trail needs a lot of work reclaiming tread, and we know WTA volunteers are up to the task. We've already done two years of work here, but the last time was in 2021, and there's more to be done.

We may need to spruce up some areas prone to washout, we'll definitely spend some time brushing, and we'll work hard to re-establish tread that, after many years of neglect, has started creeping down the hillside.

Camping and Hiking Information

  • Type: Backcountry basecamp
  • Location: Near Tatoosh Lake
  • Weather: Be prepared for variable conditions including heat, cold, wind and rain
  • Initial hike to camp: 2.5 miles with 2900 feet of gain at a moderate pace while carrying your backpack fully loaded with all provisions including camping gear and food, plus WTA-provided tools
  • Expected daily hike to project: up to 2 miles roundtrip with up to 1000 feet of gain at a moderate pace


  • Day 1: Meet the crew rain or shine, then hike in, begin work on the project and set up camp
  • Day 2+: Make breakfast and pack a lunch before heading out on trail with the crew by 8:00 AM. Work at your own pace, take plenty of breaks and enjoy lunch on the trail. Arrive back in camp by 4:00 or 5:00 PM for a relaxing evening. Prepare your own dinner and swap stories with the crew. / Make a lunch and pack up camp before heading out on trail with the crew by 8:00 AM. Work at your own pace, take plenty of breaks and enjoy lunch on the trail. Reach camp by 4:00 or 5:00 PM for a relaxing evening. Set up, prepare your own dinner and swap stories with the crew.
  • Final Day: Break down camp, finish trail project, hike out and say goodbye to the crew at the trailhead

For safety reasons, arriving late or leaving early is not allowed.

Planning Information

Get ready for a challenging backcountry adventure!

What it Takes to Do This Work Party

  • A great attitude for working with a team! WTA provides the training and tools you need for the project
  • Backpacking gear and food for multiple nights on the trail
  • Good physical condition to hike with a fully-loaded backpack and be physically active for about 8-9 hours daily on uneven terrain 
  • Backpacking experience including ability to run your own camp following Leave No Trace principles
  • Day work party experience recommended
  • Flexibility to adapt to changes due to unpredictable weather or land manager requests
  • Minimum age: 18

What to Bring

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended (glasses, sunglasses or safety glasses)

Backpacking gear

  • Backpack to carry all of your gear
  • Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Cooking gear and enough food (plus a little extra) for the entire trip
  • At least two 1-liter water bottles and a way to purify your water
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Camp clothing such as shorts, shirt and sandals
  • Sun and bug protection
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Personal items such as medication, hand sanitizer and toiletries
  • ​First aid kit
  • A sense of fun and adventure for learning new skills and meeting great people!

Trail work gear

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended such as safety glasses
  • WTA hard hat (provided, unless you have one)

For safety reasons, shorts and sneakers are not allowed while working. Firearms and weapons are not allowed.

More Information

From the Hiking Guide

See what WTA's hiking guide and trip reports say about this area.

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From either direction on I-5, head east on Highway 12 (I-5 exit 68). Continue 65 miles on Hwy 12 until you get to Packwood, then turn left onto Skate Creek Rd. After 4.1 miles, make a sharp right onto NF-5270, which is unpaved. After 7.9 miles, you will get to the signed trailhead; park carefully alongside the road on the left.

Note: Please follow the written directions above instead of using a GPS device. This will ensure that you get to the correct meeting location for this work party. The location of the pinpoint below is only approximate.

Getting to WTA work parties can involve travel on rough, unpaved roads in areas without cellular service and without street addresses that can be accurately used by navigation devices. Unless specifically noted otherwise, routes can generally be traveled by all types of vehicles. Volunteers with limited experience driving on unpaved mountain roads may want to allow extra time, beyond what is recommended in the directions above, to get to the meeting location.

Required Documentation

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